Let’s Fine Homeless People For Being Homeless. That’ll Fix Everything

Maybe I’m the idiot here (lord knows it wouldn’t be the first time), but it strikes me that the sort of people who are going to be sleeping on sidewalks aren’t going to be the sort of people who have $100 just kicking around. B.C. city approves bylaw that would fine people for sleeping on sidewalks

A B.C. city has adopted new amendments to a bylaw banning people from lying or sitting down on city streets.
Penticton City Council voted Tuesday night to approve amendments to its Good Neighbour bylaw that stops people from sitting or lying down on sections of the downtown core.
The amendments will also stop people from gathering outside vacant stores, and will be in effect every year between May and the end of September. Violators could face a $100 fine.

And again stop me if I’m the dumb one, but how are these rules not meant to target street people? If not them, then who? The occasional over-served college kid? For Christ’s sake, the Mayor can’t even make it all the way through his denial without basically admitting as much.

In a statement posted to the city’s website Thursday, Mayor John Vassilaki defended the potential additions to the bylaw.
“Downtown residents and businesses are tired of the bad behaviour and brazen crime they are witnessing and they’re demanding more solutions,” he said in the statement.
Vassilaki acknowledged he had heard from citizens in the week since the amendments who suggested the bylaw would target homeless people, but denied that bylaw officers would indiscriminately ticket them.
“Since our last Council meeting, concerned residents have said the proposed amendments will impact those without a home. That’s possible,” he wrote. “If someone who is homeless is obstructing passage along one of three designated sections of downtown high-traffic sidewalks…they will likely be approached by Bylaw Officers and be asked to move.”

Not that I expect there to be any (see stone, can’t get blood from a), but any revenue the city does manage to collect from this had better be going directly into programs like affordable housing and addiction services so that maybe we can actually help solve the problem instead of just shoeing it into a quieter neighbourhood.

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